She may only be 31 but Yuki Nagasato must feel old when she looks around the Brisbane Roar changeroom.
The Japanese international is in her first Westfield W-League campaign and has been taken aback by the age, or lack thereof, of a number of her teammates.
With a grand total of seven teenagers in the Roar squad, Nagasato has very quickly become a ‘mother hen’ of sorts as the side looks to defend their Premiership.
“We have so many young players!” Nagasato said.
“I’ve never played with a lot of teenagers so that’s a big difference between the U.S. or like Germany, England so it’s hard to compare with other countries but we have some good talented players I think and if they develop more and more they can help the team be better.”
As well as being an example to her younger colleagues, Nagasato has undergone a transformation of her own on the pitch.
Traditionally a striker, Nagasato has dropped deeper to a take up a No.10 role as England international Chioma Ubogagu leads the line for the Sunshine State club.
“I used to play a [number] nine for a long time but last year it had changed to play a 10 and I think I feel so comfortable as a 10 in this team,” she said.
"I think I am able to bring my performance out on the field a lot and I hope it’s been helpful for the team."
The second-placed Roar come up against Sydney FC at Lions Stadium on Saturday evening, a team that thrashed them 5-1 back in Round 6.
While not quite assured of finals action yet, Mel Andreatta’s side would all but wrap up a spot in the top four with three points against the Sky Blues.
Nagasato said that while the Roar would be cautious, they were confident playing in front of their own fans this time around.
“Yes, of course, we lost 1-5 so it’s disappointing so I feel I really want to win against Sydney for sure because they are a team with talented players,” she said.
“It’s going to be a hard game and we need to be more persistent for the 90 minutes but we had a lot of chances to beat them.
“We are so different for home and away games and the atmosphere is more homey and I love it because it helps our performance I think.”